WEED THAT CAN BE DANGEROUS TO DOGS FOUND IN RIVERSIDE PARK

Foxtails are innocuous looking weeds, but they can be dangerous to dogs that sniff or step on them, and one reader says she’s been seeing them in Riverside Park. Cathrine Steck took the photos above and below and sent in an explanation:

“There is a proliferation of foxtails in Riverside Park  especially north of the Boat Basin Cafe. These plants are  deadly to dogs. If they breathe them in (a dog pees on them, your dog sniffs?) they are almost impossible for a vet to remove. They travel up the dogs nose to the brain. Foxtail pictures attached. These are green. They are far more dangerous as they dry out.”

A Parks Department spokesperson tells us they have “not had any incidences with foxtails,” but adds “That said, they are weeds, and are removed by our maintenance staff in the normal course of cleanup of this kind.”

WebMD explains more about the risk here.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. your neighbor says:

      Keep an eye on your dog.
      They are weeds, there is only so much you can do to control them.
      If the parks department started spraying powerful herbicides there would be a real uproar.

      • Rob on Broadway says:

        Actually, the Parks Department DOES spray powerful pesticides (Monsanto’s Roundup, active ingredient is glyphosate) in Riverside Park every summer (for purely aesthetic reasons) and there is no uproar.

        This use is absolutely baffling on so many levels (health concerns, costs, the weeds grow back in two weeks, etc.) but the topic usually meets with a thud when I discuss with other people (parents, dog owners, etc.) in Riverside Park. I’ve stopped taking my boys to Riverside Park because of this.

        Watch for the pieces of paper taped to lampposts and fences indicating upcoming spraying. Call your local representative and the Parks Department (phone # on aforementioned warning paper) to question why Roundup is used for, again, purely aesthetic reasons. (Why we are poisoning our food, our water, our soil and ourselves with pesticides is another topic for another day. Check out the Pesticide Action Network (http://www.panna.org/) to learn more.)

    2. julie says:

      Thank you so much for the photos and info! I will send to my dog walkers.

    3. Christina says:

      Thank you for letting us know. I will keep a keen eye for them.

    4. Andi says:

      Has it been absolutely verified that these are foxtail weeds? The weeds are indigenous to the American and Canadian West, not the East, and I don’t believe that the weeds pictured here exactly resemble photos of foxtails I’m researching on line, Also, I’m checking the NYC Parks Depadfment Web site and see no mention at all of foxtails. Finally, West Side Rag is the only online journal I note is carrying this story,

    5. Andi says:

      Has it been absolutely verified that these are foxtail weeds? The weeds are indigenous to the American and Canadian West, not the East, and I don’t believe that the weeds pictured here exactly resemble photos of foxtails I’m researching on line, Also, I’m checking the NYC Parks Department Web site and see no mention at all of foxtails. Finally, West Side Rag is the only online journal I note is carrying this story,
      Reply

    6. Drew Watson says:

      Can we get a botanist’s opinion on this? I have been seeing those literally for years in many parks in the city. I was concerned, warned my clients and friends, and kept my dogs away. However, I’ve yet to hear of a case where they harmed dogs. From my limited reading, it appears that there are several types of foxtails. I would be curious to know what an expert thinks? Or how area veterinarians might weigh in. They can be found in Central Park, Isham Park, Inwood Park, Riverside as mentioned and others. Thanks for the heads-up and any other info on the subject!

    7. Drew Watson says:

      Can we get an expert botanist and vet to comment? These are in many parks in the city. I was very concerned when it was brought to my attention, but I have witnessed hundreds of dog interactions in areas where they grow and zero effects on the dogs. My friends and family are concerned. Let’s get some data.

    8. CleverPseudonym says:

      There is more than cat tails to worry about. My dog ate a bag of weed (marijuana) she found in Riverside Park. Freaked me out, bunch of vet tests to determine t was weed, but now she’s fine.

    9. Crystal Devin says:

      Why aren’t they removed??? Not to mention the Lepto.
      being spread via rat pee.